Plans that never got off the drawing board in Mansfield

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Plans that never got off the drawing board in Mansfield' page
Photo:Yet another Robin Hood Theme Park that never was

Yet another Robin Hood Theme Park that never was

This one was promised to be ready by 2015...

By Tony Clement



A rather grandiose scheme that passed near Mansfield at Warsop in 1897 was the Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway, sometimes known as the east to west railway.

Some of it is still used today, if you look to your left going under the railway bridge coming from Mansfield Woodhouse before Warsop Motor Company, this is part of a line that was to have run from a newly-built docks at Sutton on Sea on the Lincolnshire coast to Warrington on the Manchester Ship Canal.

What seemed like a great idea at the turn of the century, the line was to serve many colleries and iron foundries, plus the building of a brand new deep water dock at the small seaside village of Sutton on Sea, ran into serious difficulties when it reached Chesterfield.

This was perhaps the easy bit - west of Chesterfield were planned some serious building works to cross the Pennines, these included a 300 foot high viaduct over Monsall Dale, and would have been one of the highest viaducts in Europe if it was built.

The line ran from outside Lincoln through Tuxford to Edwinstowe, which incidentally had a station that never fulfilled its potential as the railway thought this would be a good tourist centre, and later it was advertised as the Dukeries Line, aimed at Victorian and Edwardian tourists, then through Warsop over the A60 road and through Langwith to an impressive station at Chesterfield Market Place, making it the third station in the town.

The company ran out of cash and the line finished at the buffers on Chesterfield Market Place station, not surprisingly after some major viaducts and bridges to get to Chesterfield, a large bridge over the Trent at Fledborough, one of the longest tunnels in the country at Bolsover, and a massive viaduct over 700 yards long on the approach to Chesterfield.

The line from Shirebrook to what was High Marnham Power Station is still in use today and is owned by Network Rail, and is used as a test track.

Another big Victorian scheme that if it was fully built would have been one of the wonders of the railway world.

Some interesting facts that came to light during some of my recent research covering plans that were put forward at the time concerning major building works in Mansfield.

Some were perhaps not taken seriously and others were put into place but probably not for some 20 or 30 years later.


One plan that seemed to have cropped up from the 1930s onwards was for a central bus station. Mansfield never had a bus station and it was only in the 1970s that the plans came to fruition.

In the late 1950s Mansfield Council discussed the acute need for a central bus station, Mansfield at the time was suffering from acute parking problems, with cars parked either side on most of the main roads, and with most of the town’s bus stops on these roads, the problem was very acute.

This is before the time of traffic wardens, yellow lines on the kerb, and pedestrianisation schemes.

Sites for a bus station were suggested at a Council meeting in the late 1950s, these included the Cattle Market site that councillors thought could be turned into a bus station as it was little used during the week.

Other suggested sites were areas of Great Central Road, an area of Littleworth and a site on Windsor Road, Mansfield.

What would be knocked down or what land was available on these sites is not documented, if some of these had gone ahead Mansfield’s road system might have looked slightly different today.

This was at a time when the railway was in serious need of investment, with ageing steam locomotives running to Nottingham in times slightly longer than the bus.

Councillors were getting information in the early 1960s that the rail line would be cut, and calls for a more economical and quicker diesel railcar service were suggested, this unfortunately never came to anything and the town lost its rail service in 1963 courtesy of Dr. Beeching, leaving Mansfield claiming to be the largest town in the country without a rail service.


Some of the more interesting plans put before the planning committee in August 1962, was a proposal to build a new road from the bottom of Queen Street , continuing in a curve through where the old Kings Head pub was situated, and exiting half way up West Gate next to the Granada cinema, this new road was to be fronted by a parade of new shops, curving up towards West Gate. Most of this area was knocked down anyway in the 1970s to make way for the Four Seasons Shopping Centre.

Road congestion was a big topic in the 1950s, and in January 1954, the planning committee had a proposal to put a viaduct over Kings Mill Reservoir connecting Cauldwell Road with Sutton Road, to relieve road congestion, this was proposed as part of a ring road scheme to link Sutton Road with Chesterfield Road, parts of this have to come to fruition forty years later, but for the early 1950s this was a radical solution.

Can anyone remember what the town centre was like in the 1950s, was parking a problem, or are the reports of bad congestion exaggerated. Can any reader remember when traffic travelled down West Gate, it must have been interesting on a Saturday with many people trying to shop!


In more recent times another scheme that has had a few false starts was the Robin Hood Theme Park on Peafield Lane, Mansfield Woodhouse, in the 1990s.

This plan was a scheme to provide an Alton Towers type of theme park based on Robin Hood with what was called at the time ‘thrill rides’.

The plan according to the Mansfield Chronicle Advertiser of 1990 would include two hotels, an 18-hole golf course, a business village, supermarket and 5 to 6 shops.

It has never made it off the drawing board, although the plans were very detailed, and a second attempt to build the park on Peafield Lane was made in 2001.

This page was added by Tony Clement on 30/05/2017.
Comments about this page

I have the small book about the Lancs and Derbyshire Railway bought at either a boot sale or Library sale, very interesting.  I also have the plans for the Theme Park on Peafield Lane, as you say they had 2 bites of the cherry, I think the same man had plans for a Golf Course next to Coxmoor Golf Club which was pegged out but never finished.I think he had a similar project in Cheshire.  There was also a bypass planned from Forest Town over Maun Valley, Peafield Lane and on the Shirebrook. There was to be a roundabout on Peafield Lane and a viaduct over the Maun Valley and a Retail Park planned in the area, this was about 1960s I believe.

By Tom Shead
On 02/06/2017

The CHAD has an unfortunate habit of filling even front page space with grand plans for the Mansfield area which never actually come to fruition. About ten years ago there was a huge headline with colour 'artist's impressions' of a wonderful futuristic new Library that was going to go up behind the Town Hall on the old Queen's Head site. The Central Library would leave the Four Seasons, and where it had been would become retail space. A few weeks later came the 2008 Recession and of course the marvellous plan was quietly shelved. Newspapers should really stick to reporting what has definitely just happened, rather than trying to predict what one day might occur (except in the Horoscopes perhaps).

By Ralph Lloyd-Jones
On 02/06/2017

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